Generation Z is coming of age, the oldest among them reaching their mid-20s and with this next chapter in life comes bigger life decisions. Many of the older Gen-Zs are likely beginning to contemplate where they want to live for the next chapter of their lives.
This generation is made up of people born between 1997 and 2012 and those ages 10 to 25. While the younger members of this generation may not be looking to move out of their homes quite yet, the older members are starting to look for a city to settle down in that fits their economic and lifestyle needs. Considering that many 20-somethings are fresh out of school or about to start a new job, they likely have not had the time to build a significant amount of wealth and are going to need to live somewhere affordable.
To aid Generation Z on their quest to find budget-friendly places to live, GOBankingRates gleaned data from ApartmentList, Sperling’s Best and the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to compile the best cities for this generation to consider. Here’s a look at the most affordable locations for Gen Z to consider living in and some key information on what makes each location unique.
10. San Angelo, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $5,017.85
- Livability score: 78
In San Angelo, Gen Z renters can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $847.14 per month. Though this is the 10th best city on the list, it has the highest livability score, at 78, so still a great place to live. This city, which overlooks the Concho River, is known for is West Texas arts and culture, and is friendly to businesses.
9. Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Monthly expenditures: $4,973.00
- Livability score: 70
In Lake Charles, Gen Z can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $710.29. This city is known for its casinos and rhythm and blues music. While living in Lake Charles might be on the pricey end, the city features a high livability index of 70 and is famous for its Cajun and Creole food.
8. Des Moines, Iowa
- Monthly expenditures: $4,921.27
- Livability score: 75
In Des Moines, Gen Z can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $771 per month and enjoy the a high livability index, at 75. While this high livability is shared by a couple of other cities on the list, this city lies at the spot where the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers meet and features gardens, parks and rolling green hills.
7. Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Monthly expenditures: $4,881.57
- Livability score: 75
Fort Wayne is known for affordable living in a big city, according to its visitor’s bureau. Living in this city will cost Gen Z residents $848.86 for rent each month.
6. Lubbock, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $4,863.39
- Livability score: 68
Living in Lubbock offers Gen Z the opportunity to be surrounded by popular musical artists and award-winning wineries. A one-bedroom apartment in this city falls at $779.57 per month and the livability index is 68. Those who enjoy art and music will also appreciate the state-of-the-art theaters located in this town and the booming art community.
5. Amarillo, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $4,846.88
- Livability score: 73
This popular stop along Route 66 features a high livability index of 73 and one-bedroom rent for $752.83 per month. Amarillo is known as “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and is a great location for Gen Zers interested in space and science as it features the well-known museum the Don Harrington Discovery Center and the Space Theater.
4. Killeen, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $4,779.69
- Livability score: 67
For Gen Zers looking for a new place to settle down, Killeen offers one-bedroom rent for $767.43 per month and a livability index of 67. This city is adjacent to Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world, and is just over an hour’s drive from Austin.
3. Abilene, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $4,768.68
- Livability score: 75
Known as the “Official Storybook Capital of America,” Abilene offers $776.86 one-bedroom rent and a high livability index of 75. With one of the lowest rents on the list, this city is a top contender for a place for Gen Z to settle down in. The city’s nickname comes from the 24 statues of storybook characters located throughout the city and features numerous great museums and eateries.
2. Shreveport, Louisiana
- Monthly expenditures: $4,759.44
- Livability score: 65
Shreveport features lots of entertainment for Gen Z to enjoy including the Louisiana State Fair, Holiday in Dixie festival, Red River Revel arts and crafts fair. As the second cheapest city for Gen Z to live in, Shreveport’s monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment falls at $798.29.
1. Lansing, Michigan
- Monthly expenditures: $4,705.33
- Livability score: 66
Lansing, Michigan, earned the No. 1 spot for the best city for Gen Z to live in and features a monthly rent at $795.29 for a one-bedroom apartment. This city is famous for its manufacturing roots and the REO Motor Car Company was Michigan’s first operating car company. The city is also known for its welcoming hospitality, beautiful countryside and vibrant downtown.
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Maddie Duley contributed to the reporting for this article.
Methodology: To find the best affordable cities for Gen Z renters, GOBankingRates first used ApartmentList’s data to find (1) average 2022 1-bedroom rents. GOBankingRates then used Sperling’s Best to find cities with an (2) overall cost of living index below 90. Next, GOBankingRates used average annual expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey in order to determine how much a Gen Z renter might spend in each city per month. GOBankingRates then ranked qualifying cities by least to most average monthly expenditure. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it (3) must have a livability score of 65 or above, as sourced from AreaVibes. All data was collected on and up to date as of August 24, 2022.